Sheffield Eagles 38-20 Rochdale Hornets
Friday 30th March 2018, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 8
Shaun Pick, Ryan Millar, Garry Lo 2, Daniel Igbinedion, Oscar Thomas, Matty Fozard,
Oscar Thomas 4, Simon Brown,
Danny Yates, Rob Massam, Ben Moores, Deon Lewis Cross,
Lewis Palfrey 2,
HORNETS SLUMP TO SHEFFIELD DEFEAT
ROCHDALE Hornets started their Easter weekend with a disappointing defeat, as they were beaten 38-20 away to Sheffield Eagles on Good Friday.
Alan Kilshaw’s side were unable to repeat their heroic performance against Toronto Wolfpack exactly a week earlier, as an error ridden afternoon handed their opponents their first victory of the season.
Whether their performance against the Canadian side took too much out of them or not, it didn’t excuse the amount of dropped ball in a poor first period.
They had too much to do in the second half, and although they improved it wasn’t enough to claw their way back into the contest.
Kilshaw made just two changes to his travelling side, as Morgan Smith returned to parent club Warrington Wolves and Seta Tala was left out. Danny Yates came back in at halfback, while Richard Lepori was available after serving a suspension.
Last week, the game started perfectly with a try in the first minute, however in stark contrast Hornets’ halfback Lewis Palfrey spilled the kick-off, leading to a conceded try inside 60 seconds.
Shaun Pick crashed over from close range, with Oscar Thomas adding the extras and the Eagles had a 6-0 advantage.
It almost got worse for the away side, as Nabil Djalout broke the defensive line and made his way towards the in-goal on all fours, only to drop the ball when reaching out for the line.
Hornets responded on 15 minutes, as Deon Cross showed great feet and pace to break from inside his own half on the last tackle, with the centre sending over Yates in support. Palfrey converted to tie the scores up at six-all.
Another error from the restart proved costly though, as Joshua Toole managed to offload to Ryan Millar, with the wide man racing back inside and muscling his way over. Thomas re-established the Eagles’ six point advantage.
It was Rochdale’s turn to force an error deep in their opponents’ half, as a first play knock-on was punished thanks to great work from Cross again. He came up with a great offload to Dec Kay, with the fullback sending Rob Massam over for a four pointer out wide to edge his team within two points.
On 26 minutes the visitors hit the front, as Ben Moores burrowed over from dummy half on the last tackle, with Palfrey’s conversion making it 16-12.
Three tries in the final 10 minutes of the first 40 hurt Hornets’ cause though, as Garry Lo continued his fine scoring run in this fixture by outjumping Kay to Simon Brown’s cross-field kick.
With the scores level at 16-16, Daniel Igbinedion crashed over from close range for a converted try, before Thomas chased down a grubber kick to touch down on the last play of the half. Despite Rochdale’s protests that the ball had ran dead, the referee awarded the try and Thomas converted his own effort to make it 28-16 at the break.
Cross bombed a chance early on in the second half, as he poked his nose through the defence and lost possession with the try line beckoning.
Then, nine minutes into the second period, Massam had a try bizarrely chalked off by the touch judge due to an alleged knock on in the build-up. Despite the referee being stood right over the incident and allowing play to continue, he went with his assistant’s advice and ruled no try.
A torrential downpour led to both sides being locked in an arm wrestle, going set-for-set trying to get the upper-hand.
With 13 minutes to play Rochdale finally had their breakthrough, as Moores jumped from dummy half before firing a flat pass to Cross, with the centre hitting the perfect line to race over and get his side within eight points.
The away side were hammering on the door, looking for a breakthrough to throw the game wide open, but a brilliant play from Brown to kick a 40/20 when the Eagles were on the back-foot changed the momentum. A quick tap restart saw Matty Fozard stroll over and with Brown converting it was game over at 34-20, four minutes from time.
Inside the final minute, Lo rounded off the scoring after an error from Lepori was punished by the winger crossing on the left edge. Thomas hit the post with the conversion effort, and Hornets were left with a hard pill to swallow after going down 38-20.
EAGLES: Matty Costello, Garry Lo, Nabil Djalout, Josh Toole, Ryan Millar, Simon Brown, Oscar Thomas, Shaun Pick, Greg Burns, Matty James, James Bentley, Oliver Davies, Matty Fozard. Subs: Daniel Igbinedion, Mark Offerdahl, Max Garcia, Jon Magrin.
Tries: Pick (1), Millar (17), Lo (30, 79), Igbinedion (34), Thomas (40), Fozard (76) Goals: Thomas 4/6 Brown 1/1
HORNETS: Richard Lepori, Dec Kay, Deon Cross, Earl Hurst, Rob Massam, Lewis Palfrey, Danny Yates, Joe Taira, Ben Moores, Lee Mitchell, Dave Allen, Gary Middlehurst, Luke Adamson. Subs: Dec Gregory, Pat Moran, Toby Adamson. Not used: Billy Brickhill.
Tries: Yates (15), Massam (19), Moores (26), Cross (67) Goals: Palfrey 2/4
Penalty count: 5-3
Rochdale13 Hornets man of the match: Ben Moores worked tirelessly at dummy half, but he was just pipped by Deon Cross, who came away with a try and try assist, as well as having a big hand in creating another score.